In The News


GOP senators call for McConnell to shorten August recess

The GOP's long-stalled agenda is boiling over. A group of 10 senators is sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday morning asking for the GOP leader to shorten the August recess - or cancel it altogether - if the party does not make significant headway on its priorities in July, according to a copy obtained by POLITICO. The letter comes right after Congress left Thursday and scattered across the country for a July 4 recess. Spearheaded by Sen. David Perdue of… Continue Reading


Unresolved issues, very little time for Senate GOP

The Senate will return to Washington next month facing a breakneck schedule with a slew of unresolved issues, including healthcare, defense and the budget. Republicans kicked a vote on repealing and replacing ObamaCare until after the July 4 recess, hoping to buy themselves more time to overcome the impasse between moderates and conservatives. But the move adds another piece of legislation to what was already expected to be a jam-packed laundry list and a tight floor schedule. The Senate w… Continue Reading


Tester says healthcare bill "does bad things", Daines to hear from Montanans before decision

It now looks like a vote on the Senate Health Care bill won't happen until senators return from their upcoming July 4 recess. Democratic Senator Jon Tester, who has criticized the bill, hosted a Facebook live town hall Tuesday night and fielded questions for an hour. He says the hardest hit Montanans are those in their 50s and 60s, as well as the working poor. "I think there will be a lot of arm twisting over the next few weeks trying to get people to vote for this bill. It does some pretty b… Continue Reading


Daines: Montana's Medicaid expansion could end by 2019 without new federal law

Montana's Republican Sen. Steve Daines said in a call with constituents Wednesday night that Medicaid expansion, which now covers about 79,000 around the state, would likely end in 2019 regardless of a U.S. Senate bill expected to terminate the program by 2026. When Montana chose to join with 31 other states and expand Medicaid coverage to the working poor in 2015, the Legislature included a sunset clause that requires lawmakers in 2019 to reassess the program. Daines said he spoke Wednesday w… Continue Reading


Daines re-invites EPA's Pruitt to Montana, pushes back against Superfund cuts

Republican Sen. Steve Daines has reiterated his invitation to Environmental Protection Agency's top administrator Scott Pruitt to visit a Superfund site in Montana. Daines first gave the invitation to Pruitt in February at the time of Pruitt's confirmation hearing. Pruitt, so far, has not taken Daines up on that offer. When he visited a Superfund site since becoming EPA's top administrator, he instead visited a site in Chicago that is contaminated with lead. But in a letter Daines gave to Prui… Continue Reading


The 5 factions that could kill Senate Republicans’ health-care bill before it even gets a vote

The Senate's health-care bill could go down in flames any number of ways. And after a nonpartisan congressional report estimated Monday the Senate bill could cause 22 million more people to lose their health insurance over the next decade while raising out-of-pocket costs for elderly and low-income Americans, it's at risk of death by half a dozen mini fires. Here are the five factions in the Senate that are coalescing against this bill and could make it a very real possibility that it fails, pe… Continue Reading


Tester advocates for Butte in EPA hearing on Capitol Hill

Reaction to the EPA's decision to end the 'Clean Water Rule' on Tuesday brought quick comments both for and against the move. Montana Senator Steve Daines said the Waters of the US Rule has long been a stone around the neck of private property owners. "Today marks the beginning of restoring private property rights while protecting our environment," Daines stated. "Out of state D.C. bureaucrats shouldn't impose regulations that hurt Montana farmers, ranchers and landowners. We can protect Monta… Continue Reading



On June 12, U.S. Sen. Steve Daines announced $738,430.00 in critical funding for five Montana airports in Terry, Baker, Superior, Ekalaka and Circle. "These dollars play a critical role in keeping our airports safe and functioning, to continue to connect our state," Daines stated. Daines secured provisions in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) dollars which build and maintain Montana's critical aviation infrastructure such as runways… Continue Reading


$5.3B projected cuts from health care bill so severe, Montana could struggle to pay for education, infrastructure

The cuts proposed to Medicaid under the Senate version of a health care bill meant to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act could hit Montana so hard the state would struggle to pay for priorities such as education and infrastructure. That's according to a report released Tuesday by Manatt Health and commissioned by the Montana Health Care Foundation. Under the Senate's proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act, Montana would lose $5.3 billion in federal Medicaid funds between fisca… Continue Reading


EPA moves to repeal Obama water rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally proposed Tuesday to repeal the Obama administration's controversial regulation that extended the reach of the federal government over small waterways. Under the proposal from the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, federal officials would go back to enforcing a guidance document from 2008 when deciding whether a waterway is subject to federal oversight for pollution control purposes. It's the first formal step by the EPA to fulfilling Preside… Continue Reading


U.S. EPA and Army Corps seek to rescind clean water rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers released a proposal on Tuesday to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule, the latest move by the Trump administration to unwind environmental regulations put in place under former President Barack Obama. The agencies are working to rescind the rule, known as the Waters of the United States rule, and reinstate the language of the rule before it was changed in 2015. The rule updated the federal Clean Water Act to define what waterway… Continue Reading


GOP Delays Health Care Vote Amid Defections, Disagreement

Senate Republicans Tuesday postponed a planned vote on the GOP bill to replace Obamacare until after the July 4th recess. The move is a blow to Republican leaders who had been pushing for a vote this week out of concern that a delay would only make it more difficult to pass. But it became clear that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not have time to round up enough support in the few days before their desired deadline of Friday. Republican leaders plan to work on a revised version of… Continue Reading


Savage student represents area in national youth tour

Savage High School student Soda Rice doesn't think she ever wants to be a politician, but she greatly appreciated the trip to the nation's capital for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association's Youth Tour earlier this month. Rice, who is entering her junior year, was one of 27 students in Montana who was selected for the trip by their local cooperative after completing an essay. Rice was chosen by the Lower Yellowstone Rural Electric Cooperative. She was encouraged to apply … Continue Reading


Daines touts recreation and challenges of growth at Big Sky appearance

BIG SKY - Big Sky is world famous for its outdoor recreation, and on Sunday night Senator Steve Daines spoke at the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce Awards and Dinner about how those popular outdoor activities continue to the economic success of the area. The Keynote speaker addressed members and guests after the chamber presented its economic outlook for the next year, elected new board members, presented awards to community leaders and recapped the successes of the past year. Daines also spoke a… Continue Reading


Daines Plans Tele-town Hall on Health Care

BILLINGS - Montana's Republican U.S. senator, Steve Daines, says he'll decide whether to support his party's health care bill after hearing from constituents. The Billings Gazette reported Saturday that Daines will host a telephone town hall next Wednesday on the Senate Republican proposal. At least five GOP senators have declared their opposition to the party's legislation to undo much of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul - more than enough to defeat the measure. Daines critici… Continue Reading


Tester, Daines Plan 'Town Halls' To Talk Healthcare

Both of Montana's senators will host virtual town halls this week ahead of the U.S. Senate vote on its version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Democratic Senator Jon Tester will hold a Facebook Live Town Hall Tuesday, June 27 at 6:00 p.m. Tester hosted an in-person town hall to talk about healthcare in Great Falls over the weekend. Republican Senator Steve Daines will host a "tele-townhall" over the phone on Wednesday night at 6:15. To register for the call, text "Sen… Continue Reading


Daines noncommittal on Senate Republican health care bill

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana isn't saying how he'll vote for the latest Republican plan to replace former President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the Senate Republican health care bill would leave 22 million more people uninsured in 2026 compared to Obama's law. Daines, a Republican, isn't expected to take a position before he holds a constituent teleconference on Wednesday. He said in a statement Monday he's … Continue Reading


Heinrich Introduces Bipartisan Legislation To Safeguard Tribal Items

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M) reintroduced Wedensday the bipartisan Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act, a bill to prohibit the exporting of sacred Native American items and increase penalties for stealing and illegally trafficking tribal cultural patrimony. U.S. Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are cosponsors of the bill. To anno… Continue Reading


Daines ready to get to work on healthcare

On Wednesday, June 28th I will host my 17th Telephone Townhall to get your input on the healthcare draft proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare. The draft bill was released on Thursday, June 22nd, and I immediately posted the text on my website for all Montanans to read. I am digging into this legislation myself and look forward to hearing the thoughts of Montanans as we consider this important issue together. While there is an effort to move legislation out of the Senate next week, I've … Continue Reading


Economics and timber in Northwest Montana

State and national leaders continue to weigh timber restrictions alongside the future of communities in Northwest Montana. Reporter Nicole Miller learned more about some efforts that are underway to make good on past promises while President Trump's recently released budget threatens funding for conservation and public lands in Montana and across the country. During Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's first hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Sen. Steve Daines… Continue Reading

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